Ought to feminine runners raise heavy weights?

Power coaching is necessary for all runners. It could actually lower your threat of accidents, appropriate muscle imbalances resulting in enhancements in working kind, and make you a extra environment friendly, sooner runner. However when lifting weights, how heavy do it is advisable go? Many runners, significantly feminine runners, go for lighter weights and better reps, however is that this the most effective technique? Ottawa-based physiotherapist Richelle Weeks believes lifting heavy weights is crucial for feminine runners, and gave us recommendation on how all runners can ramp up their power coaching. 

Why raise heavy?

Weeks says that, whereas beginning with lighter weights and better reps might initially be much less intimidating, it’s essential to ultimately concentrate on decreasing repetitions and rising weight, to successfully construct muscle and power. She argues lifting heavy weights is crucial for girls, particularly as they grow old, since all of us lose each muscle mass and bone density as we grow old. 

woman lifting kettlebell

However what does “lifting heavy” actually imply? It varies from runner to runner and can change over time as you turn into stronger via common power coaching. Some like to make use of the idea of “relative power” to information their lifting-heavy efforts. Relative power refers back to the quantity of weight a person can raise in proportion to their physique weight. Typically, 75-85 per cent of 1’s most weight capability constitutes lifting heavy on this context, but it surely’s necessary to do not forget that it takes time to construct as much as that degree. If you happen to weigh 150 kilos, for instance, it’s unwise (and doubtlessly harmful) to instantly leap into squatting with 115 kilos in your again.


However… received’t I get too cumbersome?

“The commonest false impression I see is girls fearing they may get massive and hulking in the event that they raise too heavy,” says Weeks. “It’s a dialog I’ve recurrently with my sufferers.”

This worry is compounded for feminine runners, who could also be involved that getting “massive and hulking” will lower their working efficiency. In actuality, it is vitally troublesome for girls to develop massive, cumbersome muscle tissues, due to their decrease ranges of testosterone. Attaining a cumbersome look additionally requires a selected mixture of coaching, vitamin and genetic components. Heavy lifting alone will not be sufficient to create cumbersome muscle tissues. 

It’s true that feminine runners might placed on a few kilos of muscle after following a daily power coaching routine, however that enhance in muscle mass will solely assist your working, not hinder it.

person strength training
Photograph: Unsplash/john-arano

The right way to construct as much as lifting heavy

To transition to lifting heavier weights, Weeks suggests beginning with three units of 10 repetitions and regularly constructing weight till hitting two RIR (reps in reserve). “This implies after they end their tenth rep, they might do two extra in the event that they wanted to, however that’s it,” she says. “If they’ll proceed on and do 13+ reps, they should go heavier.” 

When you attain the “two RIR” threshold with 10 reps, Weeks suggests dropping down to 3 units of eight reps utilizing the identical idea. When you’ve hit two RIR there, you possibly can drop down to 5 units of 5 reps. “Doing simply 5 repetitions permits the skilled lifter to go fairly heavy,” she says. “Particularly in the event that they take a minimal of two minutes between units, which is what I like to recommend.” 


Can I take advantage of a Smith machine?

Some runners could also be conversant in the Smith machine, which consists of a hard and fast barbell connected to vertical information rails, permitting for managed and guided actions. Weeks recommends utilizing tools that enables for difficult weights, reminiscent of dumbbells, kettlebells, squat racks with plates, or Smith machines. In fact, the kind of tools you utilize comes all the way down to choice and availability.

“One advantage of the Smith machine is the truth that the bar is mounted between the rails,” says Weeks. “This will enable a runner to go fairly heavy with out having to make use of stabilizers or fear about positioning.”

In case your health club gives private coaching, you’d be effectively suggested to join a session or two to familiarize your self with use the machines and the way to determine how a lot weight to raise.

strength training with weights for running

The underside line

All runners ought to be lifting heavy weights to lower their threat of harm and enhance their kind and effectivity. Feminine runners specifically shouldn’t draw back from lifting heavy weights, and actually, lifting heavy comes with an inventory of well being and efficiency advantages. The necessary factor to recollect is to start out slowly and construct your weight up regularly, to keep away from hurting your self.

Richelle Weeks has been working towards as a physiotherapist for 14 years and presently works at Ottawa’s Holistic Wellness Well being. She primarily treats runners with a concentrate on train prescription and power coaching. She’s additionally a marathon runner and is presently coaching for her first Boston Marathon.


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